Genesis 9:25

25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

Genesis 9:25 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
English Standard Version (ESV)
25 he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers."
New Living Translation (NLT)
25 Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.”
The Message Bible (MSG)
25 He said, Cursed be Canaan! A slave of slaves, a slave to his brothers!
American Standard Version (ASV)
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
25 So he said, "Canaan is cursed! He will be the lowest slave to his brothers.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
25 he said: Canaan will be cursed. He will be the lowest of slaves to his brothers.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
25 He said, "May a curse be put on Canaan. He will be the lowest of slaves to his brothers."

Genesis 9:25 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 9:25

And he said
Not in a drunken fit, as some profane persons would suggest, for he was awaked from his wine; nor in the heat of passion, but by inspiration, under a spirit of prophecy:

cursed [be] Canaan;
or, "O cursed Canaan", or rather, "Canaan is", or "shall be cursed" F17; for the words are either a declaration of what was his case, or a prediction of what it should be. It may seem strange that Canaan should be cursed, and not Ham, who seems to he the only aggressor, by what is said in the context; hence one copy of the Septuagint, as Ainsworth observes, reads Ham, and the Arabic writers the father of Canaan; and so Saadiah Gaon supplies it, as Aben Ezra relates; and the same supplement is made by others F18: but as both were guilty, as appears from what has been observed on the former verses, and Canaan particularly was first in the transgression; it seems most wise and just that he should be expressly named, since hereby Ham is not excluded a share in the punishment of the crime he had a concern in, being punished in his son, his youngest son, who perhaps was his darling and favourite, and which must be very afflicting to him to hear of; and since Canaan only, and not any of the other sons of Ham were guilty, he, and not Ham by name, is cursed, lest it should be thought that the curse would fall upon Ham and all his posterity; whereas the curse descends on him, and very justly proceeds in the line of Canaan; and who is the rather mentioned, because he was the father of the accursed race of the Canaanites, whom God abhorred, and, for their wickedness, was about to drive out of their land, and give it to his people for an inheritance; and in order to which the Israelites were now upon the expedition, when Moses wrote this account, and which must animate them to it; for by this prediction they would see that they were an accursed people, and that they were to be their servants:

a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren;
the posterities of Shem and Japheth, who stood in the relation of brethren to Canaan and his posterity; and to those he and his offspring were to become the most mean abject servants, as the phrase implies: this character agrees with the name of Canaan, which may be derived from (enk) , "to depress", "humble", and "make mean and abject".


F17 (Nenk rwra) "maledictus erit Cenahan", Junius & Tremellius.
F18 So some in Vatablus.

Genesis 9:25 In-Context

23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

Cross References 3

  • 1. Genesis 27:12
  • 2. ver 18; Exodus 20:5; Psalms 79:8; Isaiah 14:21; Jeremiah 31:29; Jeremiah 32:18
  • 3. Genesis 25:23; Genesis 27:29,37,40; Genesis 37:10; Genesis 49:8; Numbers 24:18; Joshua 9:23
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